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This Self-Sustainable Megastructure Will Clean the Ocean

 The Earth’s ocean is in desperate need of help. It is the planet’s life support system but things like overfishing, climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, and other destructive human activities have put our ocean at risk. But not everything is bleak. Many people continue to do innovative work for the preservation of the ocean. Slovak architect Lenka Petráková is one such individual who has recently won the 2020 Grand Prix Award for Architecture and Innovation of the Sea from Foundation Jacques Rougerie, a French institute that honors inventive projects promoting endurable partnerships between scientists and designers.
Lenka's project is a unique and visionary ocean-cleaning research facility in the Pacific that could well help our marine life's future.
Floating Station, ocean cleaning building
Image source: Lenka Petráková
The "8th Continent" project is a self-sustainable megastructure concept designed to look like a stunning octopus. The station removes plastic from the sea and houses research and education facilities as well as an ocean plastic recycle center. The senior designer developed the idea for her student master thesis at the University of Applied Arts in Studio Hani Rashid a few years ago. She had studied ocean pollution and was inspired by marine life when coming up with her project's idea.
"I realized how destroyed the oceans are and how many species are extinct, how much pollution is there, and that the parts that may have never seen a human being, feel the effects of our activities," she says.

How will this megastructure work?

Floating Station, megastructure
Image source: Lenka Petráková
The 8th Continent is basically a floating station that will work as a living organism that is fully self-sustainable. The proposed facility will not just physically improve the water, but also aims to restore balance in the marine environment.
The unique design gathers plastic debris from the surface and breaks it down into recyclable material. “This unique meeting platform should bring people to this distant environment and fight against the delusion that we cannot hurt the ocean by our action onshore,” says Lenka Petráková.
Floating Station,
Image source: Lenka Petráková
The 8th Continent consists of five main parts:
* The Barrier that will collect waste and harvest tidal energy.
* The Collector, where waste is categorized and then biodegraded and stored.
* The Research and Education Centre, which will serve as a place to study and demonstrate the worrying state of the aquatic environments.
* Greenhouses, where plants will be grown and water will be desalinized.
* Living Quarters with support facilities. 

Each of these parts will play a crucial role and has been developed keeping in mind the main purpose of restoring the ocean's health.

Floating Station, parts of the design
Image source: Lenka Petráková
“The Barrier floats on the water surface and moves waste towards the Collector. The collection technology at the center of the building is designed to optimize waste handling,” explains the architect. “The research and education center is linked to the Collector and Greenhouses to follow the water processes and study them.” Furthermore, the Greenhouses have been designed to maximize condensed water collection and work as large sails. Lastly, the Living Quarters will be used as public spaces and support facilities. They will pass through the building’s center and connect all the parts together.

Amazingly, the Barrier will also collect tidal energy and help power the turbine to pick up the waste. The Greenhouses will be covered by solar panels, ensuring that there is sufficient power for the water reservoirs' heating. This will enable the evaporation of water and its desalination. After the wastewater is extracted the clean water will be pumped into a water tank, to either be desalinated or used for halophilic plants’ hydrophobic cultivation.

A unique design that could help restore our ocean's health

Floating Station,
Image source: Lenka Petráková
Apart from its stunning design, the 8th Continent surely has an impressive objective. The dynamic floating station can provide some much-needed healing for our oceans, which is essential in making an environmentally sustainable future possible.“The life-giving ocean is suffering, and we need to help restore its balance for our planet’s survival. We can not achieve it only by technology, but we need an interdisciplinary platform to educate people and change their relationship with the marine environment for generations to come,” concluded Petráková.
Such architectural and technological innovations are extremely important. Here’s to hoping that the 8th Continent goes on to achieve its objectives and inspires many similar creations.
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